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Weird, scary and bizarre iPhone tales

See the elastic iPhone, and meet Lobster-Thumb Boy

By Mike Elgan
August 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - The old carnival freak show is dead and gone (or has at least moved to reality television and daytime talk shows). But in our hearts, we still long to gawk at the strange and the bizarre.

That's why iPhone culture is so entertaining. The hype around Apple's first cell phone -- sometimes generating enthusiasm bordering on insanity -- has produced some of the wackiest, nuttiest and, yes, freakiest news stories ever witnessed in the history of technology.

So prepare to be amazed, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up and take a front-row seat for Steve Jobs' unintended sideshow attractions.

The Lobster-Thumb Boy

The North Denver News published a story August 8 that reported that 28-year-old Thomas Martel, of Bonnie Brae, had his thumbs "surgically narrowed with a revolutionary new surgical technique known as 'whittling'" in order to save time while typing on his iPhone. The story was fake, of course, but hundreds of bloggers believed it and reported it as true. Weird!

World's Fattest Phone Bill

It turns out that AT&T itemizes every instance of iPhone Internet access. That means every text message, every Web connection -- everything -- even though those instances generally don't cost extra. As a result, Pittsburgh graphic designer and blogger Justine Ezarik received her first iPhone bill in a box -- 300 pages worth. Page after page listed items called "Data Transfer," each costing "$0.00." Naturally, Ezarik posted a video of the "unboxing" on her blog.

Although Ezarik's bill was the world's fattest, the total came to just $275. Another iPhone customer and blogger, Adam Aronson, received the world's largest bill so far: $5,086.66. He blogged about it and in the post said the high cost came from roaming charges incurred when he took his iPhone to England. He didn't make any calls; he just used the Internet. Amazing!

The Elastic iPhone

Everyone wants an iPhone these days -- even Gumby! One overzealous enthusiast built a life-size replica of an iPhone out of clay, including icons, ports, buttons, cradle -- even the box! Freaky!

The Missing Link

Quick! When you think of what sort of person owns an iPhone, what comes to mind? Gadget freaks? High school and college kids? Celebrity types? How about unemployed Republicans? Presidential adviser Karl Rove, who recently announced his resignation, was spotted in Minneapolis pecking away at his iPhone. The sighting explains why Rove retired: to spend more quality time with his iPhone, obviously! Bizarre!

World's Fastest iPhone

No, I'm not talking about compute performance or data access. I'm talking about revolutions per minute. Blender vendor Blendtec posted an inspired series of online publicity stunt videos titled "Will It Blend?" in which it grinds up all kinds of random objects to show how strong its blenders are. Guess what it blended. Here comes the video. Stupendous!

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